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Environmental ethics: From unsustainable to sustainable development

BY: soup | Category: Others | Post Date: 2009-04-30
 



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Introduction:
Undoubtedly man is related with environment and he is solely dependent on nature. But since few years, over exploitation of natural resources disturbed the environment. Increased population and higher consumption per head greatly effects the environment. The success of environmentally sound development depends on proper understanding of social needs, opportunities and of environmental characteristics.The human ambition for a higher living standard has made them to over use natural resources.


Role of humans and importance of environmental ethics for sustainable development:
Global problems such as climate change, the damage to the ozone layer and the extinction of wildlife species, are now well known and are increasingly seen as threats to our very survival. All of these environmental problems are clearly linked to human activity. People need development to provide them with decent housing, meaningful and rewarding jobs, education and to meet other basic needs. However, we need to develop in a way that does not over burden natural systems or squander natural resources. In other words there must be sustainable development to enable us to hand a better world to the next generation. Key to achieving sustainable development is the integration of social, economic and environmental goals, as success in one is totally reliant on the others. Good social conditions require strong economies, strong economies rely on environmental resources, and environmental conditions are inseparable from our quality of life.

The mission of sustainable development is therefore to find ways of pursuing each goal so that it also supports all of the others. This involves recognizing that there are potential conflicts and searching for means to reduce these, challenging traditional ideas, considering alternative solutions and finding innovative ways of doing things.

The environment is a great value to human beings as well as to other living organisms. A proper environment is essential to sustain life and regain all the renewable sources such as food, fires, wood, fossil fuel, water and land. Therefore, it is the prime duty of every citizen of the world to think and engage in environment friendly activities.

The following are the most important steps to be undertaken:

(1) Environmental education is required to improve understanding among general public about the environment

(2) The awareness must be given to understand the relationship between human and their environment. Understanding of basic ecological concept and current environmental issues will help in solving environmental problems.

(3) Make the people understand environmental protection and resource conservation are the main advantages to lead a better life.

The concept of sustainable development can be explained more accurately with the help of understanding the environmental ethics.

The term ethics is derived from Greek word ‘ethos' which means character. It refers to ones ability to distinguish right from the wrong, the values, believes and actions, which shape the character of a person and the society.

The term is also applied to any system or theory of moral values and principles. Ethics consist of the fundamental issues of practical decision making, and its major concerns include the nature of the ultimate value and standards by which human actions can be judged.

When these ethics define the relationship between the environment and man it is termed as environmental ethics.

Environmental ethics, therefore, can be defined as a system of ethical values, human reasoning and knowledge of nature which endeavors to forge a pattern of right conduct towards environment, so that needs of living beings of the present generation are fulfilled without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet their own needs. Hence, Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy, which considers the ethical relationship between human beings and the natural environment.

This will lead to sustainable development,and hence make the world a better place to live in,today,tomorrow and everyday.

It is the man, who is modifying the environment to satisfy his ever-growing needs. Thus it is evident that the major cause of all the social issues including deforestation and global warming is man himself.

It is therefore, the responsibility of human beings to preserve the environment for the betterment of the future generation. Sustainable development is the need of the hour in this advent of changing scenario.

Article Source: http://www.saching.com



About Author / Additional Info: Various valuable references for environmental ethics have been taken from: (1)Fundamentals of environmental studies: Dr. Balaram Pani
(2)Environmental studies Dr. D K Asthana
(3)Environmental ethics John Muir

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